Okay…so I am going to go in a different direction today, so roll with me. This is not going to be a game post today…just not feeling it. I just found out today that one of my friends died almost a year ago. Man that really threw me. Not only for the fact that I am so completely out of touch with most of the people I know, but also the fact that he was only 29 years old. My friend Russel Foltz died in a motorcycle accident on August 14th, 2005…and I am just finding out today. I can’t even comprehend the level of suck I have attained. So I am just going to type a little and see what comes out…maybe help myself feel a little better about it.
I met Russ when I was living up in Northern California working at 3DO. I moved up with my girlfriend at the time, a girl whom I had only known for three weeks when I asked her to move up to SF with me. I wasn't exactly that strong in the sound judgment department...but in retrospect if I had it to do all over again I would have made the same choice. We met a desert party called Dune. It was a crazy Rave way the fuck out in the desert…we found out later that a kid got a little too messed up and walked off a cliff. His body wasn’t found for a week and a half.
So anyway, we set off on this adventure into the unknown. I had just left the movie biz and was beginning anew in the games biz with a company called Cyclone Studios. (owned by Trip Hawkins now defunct 3DO) We looked for a place up there for a month and just when the corporate housing was about to run out we decided to rent a three bedroom house in Foster City. It was nice…more than we needed and definitely the wrong neighborhood for us…the a-typical suburb environment. At first it seemed to be all good. My girlfriend got a job at a beauty supply place and I went to work on my first game. We would go out to some parties here and there and eventually ended up with a small circle of friends, mostly from my girlfriend’s new friends and co-workers. They were all really good people but it was a crazy time. The really sad part is I can’t exactly remember how we met Russ. I am pretty sure his friend Burl started dating one of our friends. We all went out and partied, tore things up a little too much. We all went through a lot together…many good times and many bad times. I know for a while there I was in a pretty dark place and Russ was always there to pull me out. He was a solid guy. He never asked for anything and was always willing to do anything you needed. If you had a little too much to drink and you are 45 minutes from home? Even if it was four in the morning he would jump in the car and come get you. And not once would he get pissed or try to hold that over your head. He was freaking great dancer too...I know that sounds gay...but whatever. That guy could freaking pop and lock like rice krispies. It was cool to watch, it was like his bones were liquid. Okay...a little too far with the trippy woodstock feel...but for real though...He was doper than Napoleon Dynamite.
At the time we were all kind of self-absorbed jackasses…well maybe that’s a little harsh…but we were just all about enjoying life. I remember I got this new video camera and was getting into video editing a little so I took a ton of footage of everyone hanging out, spinning records and such, then edited it together with a bunch of music. I remember when I showed it to everyone Russ said…’man we are a bunch of self absorbed jack asses…sitting around watching videos of ourselves.’ It was mostly cause I missed doing something film related…but I did find out I am a pretty lousy editor. Not that great of a camera man either. But it was a cheap ass camera so whatever. Even though it was totally lame I still kept all that footage on my computer. Now I am glad I did.
I worked like crazy, but when the weekend came we all went out and cut loose. It got to the point that we never really asked if we were all going to hang out…that was pretty much a given…it was more like “What are we going to do?” We would have a bunch of people over at the house spinning records until 4am…or until the cranky old guy next door threw something at our window telling us in a not so subtle way to keep it down. I don’t blame him though. He thought he was getting this whole leave it to beaver quite suburb life, and then the dumb ass raver kids moved in next door and screwed it all up. Even when things got really bad with all of us, the core group of us still stayed together. Russ even drove down to L.A. with me when I had to move.
I rented a big ass Uhaul and he and a few other people helped me pack everything up. The grumpy old guy was throwing a fucking party the day I left. Then he drove this behemoth while I drove my car. I was too freaked out to handle that beast and he was totally cool with taking the helm the whole way. And that thing had no AC and only AM radio. Now that is a fucking friend I tell you…cause no AC in July is booty out here. I didn’t have an apartment in L.A. so we had to find a storage space and unload all my crap into it. I remember when we found the place it was like 105 degrees or something crazy like that, and he never complained once. I was bitching like a spoiled girl about how freaking hot it was. But the whole time he was keeping positive.
He told me a story once about when he was driving home from a friend’s house one night. He was crossing over from the east bay on the bridge…it was like 3am and no one was on the road and he comes up on an overturned car. He said it looked as if the accident just happened. There was no one around so he pulled over and went over to the car. There was a woman in her thirties in the car, she was conscious and in shock. He called the cops then talked to her for a bit and reassured her, then helped her out of the car. She seemed to be okay minus a few cuts and bruises so they went over to his car and waited for the cops to come.
Now I am sure most people would have stopped when they came across that sort of thing, but I know that with him he never even gave it a second thought. IT was freaking automatic with him. He was just a good person. And it’s sad that he is gone, because there is a shortage of really good people. I know everyone says that their friends and loved ones when they die, but it is true…for me at least.
I lost touch with a lot of my friends after I left SF, mostly because the last few months there were really tough, and part of me wanted to just forget about all that. But now…after having found out about his death nearly a year afterwards…by email…I really wish I had chosen a different path. I wish I had stayed in touch with all those guys and at least gotten to tell him how much he helped me. I can only hope that when he passed he wasn’t alone, that someone else just like him stopped and was there with him. Even if it was just so that he heard someone there with him before he died.
Ok. I think I am all done with that now. Rest in peace my friend.